Steinberg Aims To Reverse Some of Governor’s Line-Item Vetoes
On Wednesday, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D- Sacramento) said that he will ask California's next governor to reverse nearly $470 million in cuts to social programs that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) imposed with line-item vetoes, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Steinberg said the changes could be part of a large mid-year discussion about budgetary modifications.
Last week, Schwarzenegger signed an $87.5 billion general fund budget and used line-item vetoes to eliminate an additional $962.5 million from the spending plan. The governor's line-item vetoes eliminated:
- $256 million from child care for beneficiaries of CalWORKS, California's welfare-to-work program (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 10/14);
- $133 million from mental health services for special education students by shifting responsibility for such services from counties to school districts; and
- Nearly $60 million from HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs.
The line-item vetoes also targeted funding for:
- Community health clinics;
- Community-based services for seniors;
- Prostate cancer treatment programs; and
- Substance-misuse services (California Healthline, 10/11).
Steinberg Criticizes Cuts
According to Steinberg, Schwarzenegger's line-item vetoes cut about twice as much program spending as Democratic lawmakers anticipated (Sacramento Bee, 10/14). He said the governor's vetoes would lead to the elimination of:
- More than 700 child-abuse investigator positions;
- Day care for more than 60,000 families with working parents; and
- Some mental health services for children with special needs.
Steinberg said, "The governor's vetoes were misguided, cruel, unnecessary and preventable" (Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times, 10/14).
Schwarzenegger said the line-item vetoes were necessary to establish a $1.3 billion reserve fund. Last year, the state had a reserve fund of $500 million and ended the fiscal year with a $4.8 billion deficit (Sacramento Bee, 10/14).
Aaron McLear, spokesperson for the governor, described the vetoes as "painful but necessary to provide a responsible reserve for emergencies" (Los Angeles Times, 10/14).
On Wednesday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on Democrats' dissatisfaction with the governor's line-item vetoes (Lieszkovszky, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 10/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.